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Bruce Porter, founder and CEO of The Resource Center Inc., says his customers are looking for safe investments. 'Nowadays, they're insuring their money against loss,' he says from his 3,100-square-foot Republic Road office, formerly Megerian Persian Rug Co. Porter signed a 12-year lease with Gary and Voncille Elmer.
Bruce Porter, founder and CEO of The Resource Center Inc., says his customers are looking for safe investments. 'Nowadays, they're insuring their money against loss,' he says from his 3,100-square-foot Republic Road office, formerly Megerian Persian Rug Co. Porter signed a 12-year lease with Gary and Voncille Elmer.

Business Spotlight: The Resource Center Inc.

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Bruce Porter understands his clients' dilemma: "People are concerned about outliving their money," says the founder and CEO of The Resource Center Inc., a provider of insurance and financial services. "They're nervous about the trends, the stability of everything, and they're basically worried about running out of money."

As an insurance and annuities specialist, Porter knows clients' situations because of what he calls fact-finding missions "to learn their goals, their objectives and their priorities with their money."

It's those three tenets on which Porter established The Resource Center in 2001, when he walked away from a decade of MetLife Inc. sales and management work. At the peak, Porter managed 40 insurance agents covering Sedalia, Cape Girardeau and Fort Leonard Wood but got disheartened when he says MetLife lost its focus on customer service. The company made a decision then to farm out those services to call centers.

"Good referrals come from doing good customer service," he says. "The lifeblood of any business is taking care of what you've got. We spend a lot of time with our clients finding out what they want to make recommendations."

Fixed and indexed annuities are a big part of what clients want at The Resource Center, which moved in May to 1309 E. Republic Road, Ste. A, formerly Megerian Persian Rug Co. Porter says his firm sells about $1 million a month in annuities to investors often disgruntled with returns from stocks and bank certificates of deposit.

"The No. 1 concern is always safety and trying to find an investment that can offer guarantees," Porters says.

Insurance services account for 60 percent of The Resource Center's business, with roughly 100 home and auto policies written each month. The independent insurance agency has about 10 primary carriers, including Safeco, Travelers, Hartford and Aflac, but represents at least 50 companies, Porter notes.

Money-management financial products are offered through a partnership with Douglas Bagwell & Co.

The Resource Center's 15 employees refer their clients seeking services such as stocks, bonds and variable accounts to Doug Bagwell and his two employees. Bagwell handles variable investments, while Porter manages secured investments. Together, the firms manage about $100 million in assets.

Bagwell incorporated his company in 2005 as a registered investment adviser in Missouri and Nebraska and is seeking opportunities to brand his firm.

"With obvious nationwide competition, getting known locally as a financial services provider is a big challenge," he says.

Bagwell recently hired Tim Hays as marketing director and intends to add an investment officer by July.

The Resource Center also operates a Branson West office, 14788 State Highway 13, Ste. A. Clients are spread across the U.S. but primarily reside in the Midwest, Porter says.

Steve Moncher, one of 5,000 Resource Center clients, met Porter when the two were office neighbors in Commerce Terrace on East Sunshine Street, where The Resource Center operated until this year's move. Moncher says after first buying an auto insurance policy through The Resource Center, he introduced one of his clients to Porter.

"I liked the way he handled them ... like a therapist would. I appreciate that," says Moncher, a licensed professional counselor who runs Moncher & Associates Counseling Services LLC.

Last June, the Monchers, a couple in their mid-60s, visited with Porter about their retirement savings.

"When it came time for my wife to retire and move her 401(k), we avoided the horrors of the stock market," Steve Moncher says of the funds now in an index annuity. "My money is safe. I'm not dealing with these ups and downs. I can't afford to do that any more."

Porter says he takes a hard look at tax deferral options, especially when considering Social Security income.

"When you're 70 years old, the key is to create longevity," he says, adding that he always recommends at least a year's income in cash or traditional savings accounts.

"We don't have all the answers, and some of our products are not suited for everybody," says Porter, who also is a founding investor in OakStar Bank, where he refers clients for traditional banking services. "But when it comes to safe money we do have some good alternatives."[[In-content Ad]]

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